A soldier’s tales

A soldier’s tales

: Just got email sending me to a pretty amazing blog by a soldier in Baghdad. I now see that the email came from that soldier. Glad he sent it. Just to take one post as an example, the bloggers writes about helping a soldier under his command with an SAT question and the soldier comes back in later to ask an uncomfortable question:

What SPC Frances said as he sheepishly stood before my desk staring at the floor was ìSir, youíre like, ummmm, you know, really smart. And youíre doing this when you could ummmm, you know, so many other things. Donít you wish you were, ummm doing something better?î.

The question is one Iíve heard from several well meaning individuals, but never, ever from a soldier…. The first deadly lie is that soldiers are stupid. The second is that the Army is a dumping ground for people with no other options….

…I told him about how part of my heart chipped off when I looked into a mass grave in Bosnia. How for days after my dreams were clouded with an image of the very earth opening a yawning pit to engulf the dead, only to choke on their numbers and leave them on the surface half swallowed…. And the story that did not need telling, the story of our ongoing struggle with insurgents who revel in the misery and deaths they cause our forces and the Iraqis.

…I told SPC Frances to close his eyes and I would tell him why. As he closed his eyes I told him to imagine his young wife, his beautiful infant daughter and the future he wanted for them. He paused a moment and a smile slowly creased his face. As he looked up I caught his eyes and told him a simple truth. I told him that the thin line that separates the two realities isnít a line on a map or the signature block on a document filled with hollow proclamations. The dividing line between the two kingdoms is a long line of soldiers. And that is why Iím proud to call myself a soldier. Its not about a lack of options, or the size of my paycheck. Its about what kind of world I want to leave for my children if I am lucky enough to be a father.

  • http://myblahg.blogspot.com Robert McClelland

    I’ve heard this exact same type of story well over a thousand times in my life, as I’m sure everyone else has, so why do you think that just because it has now been put on a blog it’s amazing?

  • Dishman

    as I’m sure everyone else has
    You have a lot of confidence in such a broad statement. I believe your confidence is unwarranted.

  • http://www.graphictruth.com Bob King

    From Graphcitruth:


    What SPC Frances said as he sheepishly stood before my desk staring at the floor was ìSir, youíre like, ummmm, you know, really smart. And youíre doing this when you could ummmm, you know, so many other things. Donít you wish you were, ummm doing something better?î.

    And this is why I think this war sucks: if there is something better there, it’s no thanks to those who sent patriots such as Thunder Six and Pat Tillman into harm’s way.
    They have the right to expect being used for “something better.”
    But whatever the motivations, high-minded or low, for “going in” and “doing something about Saddam” that existed within the alleged minds of our Fearless Leaders, it matters not. When you put men in the field, for whatever reasons, for good or for ill the outcome is up to them.
    That is a small reality of war that has sent many would-be warlords and conquorers to the ashbin of history. And it’s a good thing, I think, that George Bush has not read either history or Santyana.
    And so long as our “civilian leaders” are served by men such as this – we have less to fear from “blowback” than common leftist/progressive wisdom would indicate.
    Of course, there is much crap weighing down the other side of the balance, but the good is never as dramatic nor as simple as the bad.
    …post excerpt ends…
    I remember one quote – I cannot remember the attribution nor the exact words but it’s the basis for this post and amounts to this:
    That when you go to war, you place your entire foreign policy in the hands of an 18 year old from Kansas.
    And I’m saying, “maybe that’s not such a bad thing, given the foreign policy.”

  • Max

    God bless and God speed.
    Now get home and get with the baby making!

  • http://bushout.blogspot.com gandhi

    The dividing line between the two kingdoms is a long line of soldiers.
    Bullshit. This is the central fallacy of militant ideologues.
    The dividing line is actually millions upon millions upon millions of ordinary, decent, peace-loving individuals.
    Of course, it would be hard for a soldier with blood on his hands to admit such a thing, or even be able to imagine it from his own traumatized perspective.
    But you chickenhawk ideologues have no such excuse.

  • http://www.dailypundit.com Bill Quick

    But you chickenhawk ideologues have no such excuse.

    I’m pretty sure this anon calling himself ghandi has no clue that, had Gandhi faced a Hitler rather than England, all his ” millions upon millions of ordinary, decent, peace-loving individuals” would have availed him not. He would have died in a gas chamber, as would many of his followers, and nothing would have saved him unless men like the man quoted had made up a long line of individual soldiers standing between Ghandi (who was lucky enough to be able to choose enemies who would not simply murder him out of hand) and wolves like Hitler or Stalin, who would have laughed themselves silly at Gandhi’s “resistance.”

  • richard mcenroe

    Bill Quick ó Gandhi even admitted as much himself, to Mountbatten, when the British were handing sovereignty back to India…

  • ghandi McClelland

    Help, shield my eyes from anything not anti US soldier!

  • SDN

    Bill,
    And the LLL’s know this. That’s why they’d go to Seattle, or DC, or Geneva, to trash things in the name of “anti-globalization.” Hold the WTO in Shanghai, where the Chinese government was all ready to go Tianamen on their cowardly butts, and they stay away.
    Anyone who thinks the US is a dictatorship needs to try a real one on for size…..

  • sam

    I think that it is impossible to be proud of killing people in the war particulary this war
    which hasn’t been justified until now.
    I understand why Frances asked you that kind of question. that is not because he is stupid
    maybe he cannot be proud of his job.
    and maybe he thinks ‘is killing people worth it?’
    [Its about what kind of world I want to leave for my children if I am lucky enough to be a father.]
    because of your selfish dream like that
    a lot innocent people is dying